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  • Complete Map to My Life: Basic | Comprehensive
    ( See the differences )
  • Review and update beneficiaries on bank accounts
  • Review and update beneficiaries on life insurance policies
  • Schedule time to discuss these matters with your spouse, parents, and kids

Spending just a few minutes on your Map to My Life - and the critical conversations around it - will save your loved ones hours and hours of hassle if something happens to you. They would be able to carry out your wishes, administer your estate efficiently, and lower the risk that your hard-earned assets are lost in the process.

Resources to Help

Top Three Things to Know

  1. If something happened to you, would you want your family to spend time comforting each other or searching through your messy files for information? Sharing information about your estate - or, at minimum, where to find that information - with your loved ones is a critical step in estate planning.
  2. The Map to My Life will help you organize and share this information. Only share this information with your executor and others whom you trust, since some of the information may be sensitive. If you do not want to share your Map to My Life now, store it in a safe and secure place, and tell your executor how to access it when needed.
  3. When you're ready, make sure to discuss these issues with your spouse, parents, or other loved ones. Having an understanding of each other's wishes and knowing that everything is under control can provide you peace of mind. Most people feel relief once they finally have an open conversation with their loved ones.

Key Questions

Does this apply to me?

How much you care about your health decisions and your money?

It's great to outline your wishes in a Will and Health Care Directive, but those are really only effective if your loved ones can find them and understand what you want.

Even more important, you do not want to lose the assets you have built. If your family cannot find all of the relevant information, it would take them exponentially more time to administer your estate. And if you have not updated beneficiaries on your accounts and insurance policies, your hard-earned money might go to the wrong person.

The Map to My Life will help you consolidate this information. And the discussion guides can help you have effective conversations with family.

Where should I store my Map?

You should provide a copy of the Map to your Executor or whomever will be responsible for administering yoru estate. At the very least, you should tell that person (or person) where he or she can find your Map when it is necessary.

What information is needed to change beneficiaries on accounts and insurance policies?

The (change in) beneficiary forms will typically request the following:

  • Account information (e.g., account number, type, address of account holder(s))
  • Information about beneficiaries (e.g., name, address, relationship to you, birth date, Social Security number)
  • Information about custodians for funds left to beneficiaries who are minors (under 18)
  • The percent of the funds you want to go to each beneficiary
  • Two other points:

    1. The form may also distinguish between primary beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. The contingent beneficiaries are those who would receive the funds if the primary beneficiaries are not alive to receive them.
    2. Your estate can be a beneficiary. For example, if John Doe set up a living trust, he might list the beneficiary of his bank accounts and life insurance policies as the "John Doe Family Trust".
Where can I find beneficiary change forms?

Most brokerage and insurance companies post the form on their website, and some will even allow you to complete it online. If they do not have the form online, contact the company's customer service, your insurance agent, or ask a branch representative for it.

How should we approach the conversation with our parents?

Pick a time and place that works best for both you and your parent(s). Ideally, this is a time when you will not be rushed and you both feel comfortable.

You know your parent best. Some people are able to sit down and have a deep conversation without preparation whereas others will want to think about it first. Some people can decide based on abstract information whereas others do better with specific options.

Some questions to consider:

  • Should I send the information to my parent(s) ahead of time?
  • Should I call my siblings to discuss how we want to approach this?
  • Should I research living options in my local area?
  • Should we have a doctor or financial advisor be the “neutral expert” during the conversation?

For more information and templates, please see the Discussion Guide.

What are my parents' likely reactions to the conversation?

Focus on listening and understanding your parents’ (and others’) perspective. Even if they are uncomfortable, your parents have probably thought about these issues already. Also, they might not take well to the role reversal of having their children dictating to them.

For more information and templates, please see the Discussion Guide.

Beneficiary Forms

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Does this apply to me?

How much you care about your health decisions and your money?

It's great to outline your wishes in a Will and Health Care Directive, but those are really only effective if your loved ones can find them and understand what you want.

Even more important, you do not want to lose the assets you have built. If your family cannot find all of the relevant information, it would take them exponentially more time to administer your estate. And if you have not updated beneficiaries on your accounts and insurance policies, your hard-earned money might go to the wrong person.

The Map to My Life will help you consolidate this information. And the discussion guides can help you have effective conversations with family.

×

Where should I store my Map?

You should provide a copy of the Map to your Executor or whomever will be responsible for administering yoru estate. At the very least, you should tell that person (or person) where he or she can find your Map when it is necessary.

×

What information is needed to change beneficiaries on accounts and insurance policies?

The (change in) beneficiary forms will typically request the following:

  • Account information (e.g., account number, type, address of account holder(s))
  • Information about beneficiaries (e.g., name, address, relationship to you, birth date, Social Security number)
  • Information about custodians for funds left to beneficiaries who are minors (under 18)
  • The percent of the funds you want to go to each beneficiary
  • Two other points:

    1. The form may also distinguish between primary beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries. The contingent beneficiaries are those who would receive the funds if the primary beneficiaries are not alive to receive them.
    2. Your estate can be a beneficiary. For example, if John Doe set up a living trust, he might list the beneficiary of his bank accounts and life insurance policies as the "John Doe Family Trust".
×

Where can I find beneficiary change forms?

Most brokerage and insurance companies post the form on their website, and some will even allow you to complete it online. If they do not have the form online, contact the company's customer service, your insurance agent, or ask a branch representative for it.

×

How should we approach the conversation with our parents?

Pick a time and place that works best for both you and your parent(s). Ideally, this is a time when you will not be rushed and you both feel comfortable.

You know your parent best. Some people are able to sit down and have a deep conversation without preparation whereas others will want to think about it first. Some people can decide based on abstract information whereas others do better with specific options.

Some questions to consider:

  • Should I send the information to my parent(s) ahead of time?
  • Should I call my siblings to discuss how we want to approach this?
  • Should I research living options in my local area?
  • Should we have a doctor or financial advisor be the “neutral expert” during the conversation?

For more information and templates, please see the Discussion Guide.

×

What are my parents' likely reactions to the conversation?

Focus on listening and understanding your parents’ (and others’) perspective. Even if they are uncomfortable, your parents have probably thought about these issues already. Also, they might not take well to the role reversal of having their children dictating to them.

For more information and templates, please see the Discussion Guide.

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Bank of America

Customer service told us: "Visit any local Banking Center and ask an Associate for the right form. There is not a way to complete the form online."

×

JP Morgan Chase

    To get the beneficiary form, call 1-866-265-1727. You will need the following information:
  • Name on the account
  • Your account number
  • Your Social Security number
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PayPal

Paypal customer service told us that account holders cannot assign beneficiary. Your executor would have to notify PayPal and provide documentation.

You can find out the process here.

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Capital One

Account Owner and Benefit Change Form

To contact the Customer Relations department, you can call 1-800-655-2265.

×

State Farm Mutual Funds

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BB&T

To receive either a Transfer on Death or Beneficiary Change Form, you must either go to your local branch and pick the forms up, or sign into your account and contact them via their secure website.

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Fifth Third Bank

You must request forms through the secure Message Center on the account, or call 1-800-972-3030 for more assistance.

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HSBC

To request forms, use the BankMail link located in the navigation menu while you are logged into your Personal Internet Banking service.

×

ING

    For other forms, you will need to call customer service
  • Fixed Annuities: 1-800-369-5303
  • Variable Annuities: 1-800-366-0066
  • Mutual Fund IRA: 1-888-854-595
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KeyBank

IRA Beneficiary Change Form

For other forms, contact KeyBank through your online banking account, or if you do not have access to that account call 1-800-539-2968 for more assistance."

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PNC

To request forms, email service1@pnc.com. You can also call customer service at 1-888-762-2265 or their bank operator 1-877-762-2000.

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Regions

Regions customer service emailed the following:

"To add or change a beneficiary, a signature card must be signed by all account owners. The card must be returned to a Regions branch in person with a valid photo ID. To request a signature card, contact Regions at 1-800-REGIONS (1-800-734-4667)... or visit any local branch."

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Liberty Mutual

Email Life-PHS-Support@libertymutual.com with your request for a beneficiary change form, and they will respond within 24-48 hours.

Please be sure to obtain a witness signature from an uninterested third party if you live in the state of Massachusetts, in addition to all other requested information.

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AXA Equitable

    If you call customer service (1-800-777-6510), be prepared with the following information:
  • the policy/account number
  • insured’s date of birth
  • the owner's taxpayer identification number
  • the issuing company name
  • policy type (e.g., group annuity/pension, group life, MONY, Equitable of Washington, etc.)
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Colonial Penn

List of forms

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MassMutual

List of forms

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MetLife

If none of these meet your needs, please see the full list of MetLife Forms.

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Mutual of Omaha

Look up forms by state

You can also call Mutual of Omaha at 1-800-228-7104 and they will have the form mailed to you.

×

AIG

Contact AIG to request for the appropriate forms.

    Please be prepared with the following information:
  • Your name, as it appears on the policy
  • The type of policy (e.g., auto, home, life)
  • Your policy number
  • Country where the policy was originally purchased
×

Allstate

Life insurance policies are serviced by a local Allstate agent or the Allstate Financial Service Center. For assistance with your request, please contact your local Allstate agent during their normal business hours or call the Allstate Financial Service Center at 1-800-366-1411.

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GEICO

To request the forms, visit the GEICO contact page. They will require your policy number.

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Prudential

"If you have a non-qualified mutual fund account and wish to add a beneficiary to the account, you will need to complete a Transfer on Death consent form. %br You can obtain the form at: www.prudentialfunds.com/pmfs296



If you have an Individual Retirement Account and wish to add a beneficiary, you will need to complete our Beneficiary Change Form. You can obtain the form at: www.prudentialfunds.com/mf1001

Should you need immediate assistance or have further questions concerning your life insurance, please contact the Life Insurance Service Center directly at 1-800-778-2255.  Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:00am to 8:00 Eastern time."
×

Charles Schwab

To request the appropriate forms, use the Charles Schwab contact page. You should include the type of account (i.e., IRA, Schwab One brokerage account) in your message.

When you've filled out the forms, you may send them to:
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Orlando Operations Center
P.O. Box 628291
Orlando, FL 32862-8291

×

Vanguard

"You can enroll online or by completing a Transfer on Death Plan Form. To access the form, go to: http://personal.vanguard.com/us/literature/search?searchInput=BDBP

    You also can designate or update your beneficiaries online (if you are registered) by following these steps:
  • Log on to your account at vanguard.com.
  • From the My Accounts dropdown, select "Account maintenance."
  • Under "Personal profile," choose "Beneficiaries."
  • Select "Add beneficiaries to a nonretirement account," located on the right side of the page, and follow the instructions.

If you have additional questions, please call us at 888-285-4563."

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